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Turn order advantage

Mar 29, 2009
I love the deck building aspect of combat, and I love the fact that it's turn based rather than real time.

However, I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with how much of a major impact turn order plays in every battle.

If I go first, then for every turn of the battle, I can choose the correct spell. If there is no -45% accuracy hex on me, I can cast my big damage spell. If I am low on health, I can cast heal. If one of the monsters has a -50% shield, I can get rid of it by using my wand instead of wasting a big spell.

But if I go second, then every turn I need to guess what the monster is going to do, and no matter how good I am, I will often guess wrong. For example, I choose my big damage spell; then, since the monster goes first, he casts -50% damage on himself, and then I cast the spell anyway, wasting all those pips. Or, at the beginning of my turn, I'm moderately damaged, and I expect to kill one of the monsters this turn; I need to guess how much damage *4* attacks are going to do to me, because after I select whether to cast my heal spell or not, that's how many attacks the 2 monsters will get before the next time my heal spell could possibly go off. And so on.

Combat is completely different based on whether you go first or not. When I'm doing those "kill 8 of X" quests, I'll sometimes kill both opponents without taking a single point of damage when I go first, and then 30 seconds later take 1,000 points of damage and need to cast a heal in the middle of the battle when I go second. It's not like I suddenly forget how to play; it's the difference between having absolutely perfect information every turn, vs. having quite incomplete information every turn.

I guess what bugs me about this isn't the fact that the combat is different in the two cases; it's that whether it's hard or easy is random, so I always feel a little bit irritated when I go second in a big boss battle or whatever (it almost never means I die, but it can make a 5 minute fight take 15 minutes). It would seem more "fair" to me if it was deterministic: for example, all boss fights you go second, all non-boss fights you go first, or something like that.